Criminal Justice (AAS)

Degree: Associate of Applied Science
Major: Criminal Justice
Program Code: 1360

About This Major . . .

This program is designed for students who want the credentials of an Associate’s Degree combined with the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification. It is highly recommended that students seeking this degree complete their essential learning and elective requirements prior to enrolling in the Western Colorado Community College POST Academy. Once a student has passed all the minimum requirements of Colorado POST he or she has a timeline of ONLY 3 years to be hired by a law enforcement agency. Successful completion of the POST Academy is a requirement of this degree.

Upon successful completion of the requirements, the student would be awarded an A.A.S. degree in Criminal Justice by Colorado Mesa University.  This degree provides graduates with an advantage in the competitive law enforcement career market. Graduates are qualified to apply for jobs in police departments, sheriff’s offices, county jails, alternative sentencing programs, Colorado State Parks, Dept. of Corrections and the State Patrol. Current professionals may increase their promotional opportunities.

For more information on what you can do with this major, visit WCCC's Programs of Study page.

All CMU/WCCC associate graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information literacy. In addition to these campus‐wide student learning outcomes, graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Criminal Process: Explain the functions of the criminal justice system in protecting the constitutional rights of all individuals within the United States, regardless of citizenship. (Specialized Knowledge)
  2. Basic Law: Explain the current rules for peace officer conduct as it pertains to arrest, search and seizure. (Specialized Knowledge, Information Literacy)
  3. Victim’s Right: Explain the laws relating to victim rights and community resources available for crime victim’s services. (Specialized Knowledge, Information Literacy)
  4. Community Policing: Identify and recognize community policing and the necessary elements for implementation of community policing practice and philosophy and recognize community partnerships as an integral component in community policing and problem solving. (Critical Thinking
  5. Professional Behavior: Identify the traits that officers should exemplify and explain the benefits of professional and ethical behavior to the officer, department, and community. (Personal and Social Responsibility)
  6. Patrol Observation and Perception: Analyze and interpret information gathered during patrol operations, differentiate between proactive and reactive patrol, and demonstrate different patrol methods. (Critical Thinking)
  7. Traffic Code: Recognize elements of traffic code violations as defined in Title 42 C.R.S. (Specialized Knowledge)
  8. Preliminary Investigations: Identify and explain procedures for responding to a crime scene, conducting an initial crime scene investigation, interviewing victims, witnesses, and suspects, and conducting a follow up investigation. (Communication Fluency, Critical Thinking, Specialized Knowledge)
  9. Report Writing: Apply the basic requirements of written communication in law enforcement. (Communication Fluency)
  10. Wellness: Explain why wellness is an integral component of the law enforcement profession, and the necessity of being in good physical condition. (Personal and Social Responsibility)
  11. Tactical Casualty Care: Apply lifesaving medical actions in the context of a hazardous situation such as an active shooter, specific medical interventions, and skills. (Specialized Knowledge, Quantitative Literacy)
  12. Identify, utilize and cite various sources of policing information in academic assignments and on-the-job requirements. (Information Literacy).
  13. Use program-level mathematical concepts and methods to understand, analyze, and explain policing issues in quantitative terms (Quantitative Fluency)

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Degree Requirements

The following institutional degree requirements apply to all CMU and WCCC Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • 60 semester hours minimum.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 15 of the final 30 semester hours of credit at CMU/WCCC.
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU/WCCC coursework.
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • No more than six semester hours of independent study courses can be used toward the degree.
  • Non-traditional credit, such as advanced placement, credit by examination, credit for prior learning, cooperative education and internships, cannot exceed 20 semester credit hours for an AAS degree.
  • Pre-collegiate courses (usually numbered below 100) cannot be used for graduation.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Degree Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and degree requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Certificates” in the catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.

Essential Learning Requirements

(15 semester hours)

See the current catalog for a list of courses that fulfill the requirements below.  If a course is an Essential Learning option and a requirement for your major, you must use it to fulfill the major requirement and make a different selection for the Essential Learning requirement.

ENGL 111English Composition I-GTCO13
ENGL 112English Composition II-GTCO23
or SPCH 102 Speechmaking
MATH 108Technical Mathematics (or higher) 1,23
Other Essential Learning Core Courses
Select two of the following:6
General Psychology-GTSS3
Marriage and Families-GTSS3
General Sociology-GTSS3
Total Semester Credit Hours15

MATH 108 is a 4 semester credit hour course; however, if a student completes a higher-level, Essential Learning eligible Mathematics course at 3 semester credit hours, that course would fulfill the Mathematics Essential Learning requirement.


MATH 110 or higher is required for BA or BAS in Criminal Justice.

Other Lower Division Requirements

Wellness Requirement
KINE 100Health and Wellness1
KINA 127Physical Conditioning 11
Total Semester Credit Hours2

KINA 127 is taken simultaneously with POST Academy.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(43 semester hours)

CRJW 101Basic Police Academy I4
CRJW 102Basic Police Academy II5
CRJW 103Basic Police Academy III7
CRJW 104Basic Police Academy IV6
CRJW 106Arrest Control3
CRJW 107Law Enforcement Driving2
CRJW 108Firearms3
CRMJ 110Orientation to Criminal Justice Inquiry1
CRMJ 201Introduction to Criminal Justice3
SPCH 101Interpersonal Communications3
POLS 101American Government-GTSS13
SOCO 264Social Problems-GTSS33
Total Semester Credit Hours43

Due to a potential variation in semester credit hours for the Essential Learning Mathematics credits, the following sequencing results in variable credit hours; however, students in this major must complete a minimum of 60 semester credit hours, including satisfactory completion of all required courses, for satisfactory completion of degree.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 111 English Composition I-GTCO1 3
SPCH 101 Interpersonal Communications 3
POLS 101 American Government-GTSS1 3
Essential Learning Social and Behavioral Sciences or Humanities course 3
Essential Learning Social and Behavioral Sciences or Humanities course 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
ENGL 112
English Composition II-GTCO2
or Speechmaking
CRMJ 110 Orientation to Criminal Justice Inquiry 1
CRMJ 201 Introduction to Criminal Justice 3
SOCO 264 Social Problems-GTSS3 3
MATH 108 Technical Mathematics (or higher) 1 3-4
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
 Semester Credit Hours14-15
Second Year
Fall Semester
CRJW 101 Basic Police Academy I 4
CRJW 102 Basic Police Academy II 5
CRJW 103 Basic Police Academy III 7
CRJW 104 Basic Police Academy IV 6
CRJW 106 Arrest Control 3
CRJW 107 Law Enforcement Driving 2
CRJW 108 Firearms 3
KINA 127 Physical Conditioning 1
 Semester Credit Hours31
 Total Semester Credit Hours60-61

MATH 108 is a 4 semester credit hour course; however, if a student completes a higher-level, Essential Learning eligible Mathematics course at 3 semester credit hours, that course would fulfill the Mathematics Essential Learning requirement.

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. The suggested course sequencing outlines how students could finish degree requirements. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters, while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and altering the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree(s).

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a degree and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If a student’s petition for graduation is denied, it will be her/his responsibility to consult the Registrar’s Office regarding next steps.